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Published on May 26, 2024
Texas GOP Pushes Bible Classes, Electoral Overhaul to Sideline DemsSource: A. Shaker/VOA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Republican Party made headlines with its proposed 2024 platform that endorses requiring Bible teaching in public schools and altering the electoral process to impede Democrats from winning statewide office. According to The Texas Tribune, the platform, which was voted on Saturday, demands that candidates for statewide posts must win the popular vote in a clear majority of Texas' 254 counties to claim victory—a shift poised to entrench Republican dominance due to their rural strongholds.

Alongside this potential upheaval to electoral norms, the platform espouses declarations such as "abortion is not healthcare, it is homicide" and brands gender-transition treatment for kids as "child abuse." As the party veers rightward, other proposals from the same platform include reversing recent changes to military base names to "publicly honor the southern heroes," establishing gold and silver as legal tender, and a call for full disclosure of all government UFO knowledge, ABC 7 Amarillo reports.

This controversial electoral proposal would effectively discount urban counties, where Democrats, including Beto O'Rourke in 2022, have found strong support. With Governor Greg Abbott winning 235 counties against O'Rourke's urban and South Texas bases, critics point out that such a law would dampen the influence of racial minorities concentrated in fewer counties, possibly conflicting with the Voting Rights Act—which the platform also calls to repeal.

Religion in public affairs receives heightened attention on the platform. Lawmakers and the State Board of Education are urged to mandate Bible instruction, "servant leadership and Christian self-governance," The Texas Tribune reported. Another subtle move for Republicans seeking to inject Christianity into public education is the push to include Thomas Jefferson's "Letter to the Danbury Baptists"—a document activists cite to challenge church-state separation—in history class curricula alongside significant texts like the U.S. Constitution and The Federalist Papers, reports The Texas Tribune.

The platform also calls for institutional changes within the GOP itself, advocating a limit of two consecutive terms for the Texas House Speaker and the implementation of a discharge petition process. This would enable House members to force a floor vote on bills regardless of whether they have passed through committee hearings.

As the GOP prepares to cement its platform on Wednesday, this raft of proposals reflects the increasingly rightward tilt of the Texas Republican Party. Abraham George, elected as the next party chair at the convention, echoed this sentiment, vowing to combat Democrats and "RINO" Republicans who oppose party ideologies. "We could get any piece of legislation done anytime we want, but, every session, we struggle to get our platform into law," lamented former gubernatorial candidate and state Senator Don Huffines on the convention stage, as noted by ABC 7 Amarillo.